The most popular content strategies and how to use them

When a Google algorithm update rolls out, there’s usually a commotion in the SEO community. Like a crash scene investigation, they pick through the debris of lost rankings to figure out what has changed and how to deal with these changes in future. With the most recent core algorithm update, Google did the unexpected by handing over the black box recorder.

In a recent post, Google’s Public Liaison for Search, Danny Sullivan offered guidance on how to make sure your website content is up to code. It starts with a suggestion to refamiliarise yourself with the Webmaster Guidelines. Following this, he offers quite a few suggestions for how you can make your content as valuable to possible to your readers.

Among the suggestions, the key message is that Google rewards quality content. We’ve known this for a while, but many of the most popular content strategies will tell you that quality can easily be replaced by quantity. If you’re able to write more than your competitors, you’ll have more chances to throw in more keywords and Google will reward you with traffic.

Not anymore.

“We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”

Danny Sullivan, Google

If you’re wondering which content strategies will work best in the wake of these new guidelines, read on to discover some of the most prevalent strategies and how you can put them to work on your website.

Skyscraper Technique

This term was coined by Backlinko’s Brian Dean. It’s a method of generating backlinks to your website by creating the best possible version of a resource. His theory is that when you’re visiting a new city, you don’t care about 5th tallest skyscraper. You only want to know which is the tallest. And linking to content works in a similar way. We always want to make sure we are linking to the best possible resource. So, we have to create that resource. You can read more about the Skyscraper Technique here. 

10x Content

This term was coined by Moz’s Rand Fishkin to refer to content that is simply 10 times better than what is currently available. It is similar to the Skyscraper Technique, but instead of focussing on creating the most comprehensive resource, it’s all about creating something that meets the user’s needs. If the user is finding it difficult to find the answers they need online, it doesn’t matter if you answer their question in 100 words or 1000 words, it’s the answer that they really care about.

Pillar Content

Similar to the strategies above, pillar content is all about creating in-depth and valuable resources. These go way beyond just creating long-form blogs. It should offer a complete overview of a topic, but it doesn’t stop there. Offering additional context by linking to other valuable resources on your website is essential. Creating pillar content requires considerable time and resources, but it could help to position you as an industry-thought leader.

Cluster Content

Cluster content is often discussed in the same realm as pillar content. Alongside your pillar, you also have additional pages, or clusters, which offer further context and information. This can help the reader to gain an in-depth understanding, or simply answer a quick question. Internal linking helps to make the user journey intuitive and rewarding.

Evergreen Content

Perhaps the most accessible content strategy is the idea of Evergreen Content. It offers an antithesis to newsjacking techniques. Back when Facebook would reward pages with reach if they could link their articles to current events, content producers would churn out content with a short shelf life in order to capture attention. In direct opposition to this, evergreen content is all about creating timeless content. This will be just as relevant today as it will be in 2 months and 2 years. 

Latent Semantic Indexing

While not strictly a content creation strategy, this is one way that website owners can optimise their existing content. However, not everyone is convinced that Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is really all that effective for SEO. You can use sites like LSI Graph to generate a list of keywords which would be expected to be on the page in order to provide context. For example, if I was asked to create a page about the word “Apple”, my choice of words would be very different depending on if I wrote about the fruit or the tech company. Critics of this technique argue that there is little evidence to suggest implementing LSI has any impact on rankings.

Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency

Similar to LSI, Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency is another method of optimising your content. It is one of the methods Google uses to retrieve information from content, and this is why SEOs are quick to latch on. It can be used as an alternative to keyword density, offering an update to a long-outdated practice. TF–IDF can be used to calculate the importance of a term in a document in a collection of documents. Or, in the case of search engines, the importance of a term in a search result in a collection of search results. You can use tools like this to explore TF–IDF in more detail.

All of these content strategies require considerable time resources to get them right. If you need help getting your content strategy off the ground, get in touch with the Auburn team today.